Best: Festival will put players in shop window
Clyde Best, the former West Ham United striker, believes that the Bermuda International Football Festival can become a springboard for the island’s aspiring players to launch their professional careers.
The event has been extended to overseas sides for the first time this year with under-19 players from the West Ham United Academy and the Azores Football Association Academy to play in a four-team round-robin tournament.
It will also feature the Bermuda Football Association National Academy and a Premier and First Division Select comprising of players under the age of 21.
“It’s always nice to afford an opportunity for our kids to play against foreign opposition, especially guys that are set up at a professional club,” said Best, who scored 47 goals in 186 appearances for West Ham between 1968 and 1976.
“Who knows what might happen from it? They might look at one or two of our players and like them, so I think that’s very important and something we have to continue to do and not every ten years or so.
“Our kids need to be playing as much as possible and that’s how you can improve.”
Best has urged the island’s players involved to grasp the opportunity to broaden their football horizons.
“I just want our kids to take advantage of the opportunity and look and learn and don’t be afraid of them [overseas players],” he said. “They are human just like you even though they have professional to their name. Just go out there and show people that you can play and do the best that you can.”
The festival will be held at the National Stadium from May 7 to 13 and will once again feature the East v West match, involving select teams consisting of players from across the island, whether they are registered BFA players or not.
The primary aim of the BFA-sanctioned event is to engage the island’s young men in character-building and break down barriers that exist throughout the community with part proceeds going to various local charities.
“Hopefully a lot of people will come out to support,” Best said.
“The more that come to support the more we are able to generate and give to various charities.
“These are the sort of the things I like to be involved in, personally, to be able to help other people less fortunate than yourself and Rick [Richardson, the festival chairman] and all the people who are involved are the same way.
“If we can continue bringing teams from different parts of the world to give our kids competition then everybody benefits and the country benefits because it’s all about turning out good people for society and what better way to do that than to play sport?”
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